Sarah Kanouse

Iowa City, IA

Sarah Kanouse is an interdisciplinary artist and critical writer examining the politics of landscape and public space. Her research-based creative projects trace the production of land- scape through ecological, historical, and legal forces, with particular interest given to the environ- mental and cultural effects of military activities.

Her award-winning, feature-length film, Around Crab Orchard, addressed how the politics of conservation and environmental justice are imbricated with military and penal economies deeply in an American wildlife refuge. She is currently completing an essayistic documentary short on the Pawnee National Grassland, a unique site where recreation, ranching, fracking, wind farming, and nuclear deterrence uneasily coexist. An inveterate collaborator, she is one half of the National Tox- ic Land/Labor Conservation service, a ‘wishful’ government agency addressing the cultural and ecological impacts of nuclear militarism, and a core member of Compass, an art collaborative best known for staging a series of performative hearings into the intergenerational and inter-species impacts of GMO and industrial agriculture on regional and global eco-social systems. With Nicholas Brown, she published the photo-text book Re-Collecting Black Hawk addressing land- scapes of settler commemoration in the Midwest.

Her work has been screened or exhibited at Documenta 13, the Museum of Contempo- rary Art-Chicago, the Cooper Union, the Smart Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art De- troit, and in numerous festivals and spaces at such institutions as CUNY Graduate Center, George Mason University, University of California Berkeley, Colorado College, and the University of Wis- consin. She has written extensively about performative and site-based contemporary art practices in Art Journal, Acme, Leonardo, Parallax and in the books Critical Landscapes, Art Against the Law, and Mapping Environmental Issues in the City.

Sarah Kanouse is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Art + Design at Northeastern University, where she directs the MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts and coordi- nates the Studio Arts MFA program offered in collaboration with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She has also held faculty positions in the University of Iowa’s Intermedia program and in the Department of Cinema and Photography at Southern Illinois University. She earned her MFA de- gree in Studio Art from the University of Illinois, and a BA in Art, magna cum laude, from Yale Uni- versity. 

2014 and 2016 Participant